I’m not a big Steven Soderbergh fan. Not that I don’t like his movies, only that I’ve only seen the Ocean’s trilogy and those, while enjoyable and essentially perfectly crafted, didn’t leave that big of an impression on me. Logan Lucky uses a similar formula, but replaces Ocean’s Vegas glitz with West Virginia grit. It works, with strong performances all around and funny moments from start to finish.
Channing Tatum plays Jimmy Logan; a divorced father who loses his job thanks to an old football injury that causes a liability issue at the same time he finds out his ex is taking their daughter and moving. He needs money. So he concocts a plan with his siblings, the one armed Clyde (Adam Driver) and hairdresser Mellie (Riley Keough), to rob a race track. They recruit another group of siblings, the Bang brothers, to help them. It is a heist movie, with the characters going through the usual hurdles of a heist movie, like needing to appear to be one place when they are actually somewhere else, before it all comes together.
It is a joy to watch even these largely kind of stupid characters be good at their jobs. The Logan brothers are especially competent, while Joe Bang, played by a Daniel Craig who appears to be having a blast, MacGyver like knowledge of explosives is delightful. Soderbergh knows the heist game as well as anybody, and he executes it again here.
I don’t want to explain more of the plot, because the joy is seeing it play out for yourself. Any plot details, other than the base premise seem to spoil something. This is a tight movie, with everything working just as it should. Tatum is the perfect rock for the rest of oddball characters to play off of. He and Driver really manage to feel like brothers, with long standing gripes with each other but no doubt that the two of them always have each other’s backs.
This is the perfect movie to close out a somewhat disappointing summer. It is just so competent and entertaining. It isn’t a desperate attempt to set up a franchise or the dying gasp of last decade’s franchise. Its plot is complex without being convoluted and just so goddamned effortlessly entertaining.